Transformers UK: Issue #276
Story 1: Ashes to Ashes (Part 4)
Story 2: Bugged
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: June 30, 1990
Writer: Michael Higgins, Simon Furman
Artwork: Herbe Trimpe, Jeff Anderson, Pete Knifton (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Hawk wallows in despair after learning his new beau has been secretly meeting with Cobra.
Starscream brings out the fly swatter to deal with a case of insect infestation in the Decepticon base.
Hawk has just been shown photographs of his new girlfriend, Senator Barbara Larkin, meeting with the Baroness and now he is majorly pissed off about it. He confronts her for an explanation of how she, as leader of the Power Station Alpha project could have been associating with the terrorists who stole it, but decides he won't listen to any excuses. With that, he walks away leaving the senator in tears.
Over at Fort Lewis, Alpha's erstwhile home, the Joes are attempting to communicate with the Bumblebee, the Autobot who they blew into small pieces are mistaking him for an enemy. They succeed in bringing an engine-like component online and striking up a conversation (no really) and after Bumblebee laments his aching head, he tells his new human friends that he was there to stop Alpha getting stolen.
Meanwhile Cobra forces are attacking the Ark in the hopes of retrieving a solar converter for Power Station Alpha (currently parked at Decepticon Island). Shockwave has tricked his new human allies into a foolhardy assault in anticipation of their destruction, and Serpentor has sussed it out. He leads the Decepticon Dirge in close to the Autobots and jams his frequencies causing him to self destruct and go down in flames. The Cobra emperor then calls a ceasefire and tells the Autobots of Shockwave's plans to cause a global catastrophe using the modified Alpha satellite. Blaster concludes that the humans' words have a ring of truth, despite their initial aggression. And Circling overhead, GI Joe pilots intercept the message and conclude that everyone is on the same side now.
Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnell shrink to insect mode and infiltrate the headquarters of Shockwave's Decepticons while Starscream is on guard duty. The Insecticons serve Megatron's faction and have been sent in to gather information.
Starscream is realising that his role as Shockwave's second in command is not all it is cracked up to be, after all he has been made a glorified nightwatchman and even Megatron didn't inflict a humiliation like that. He spots the three tiny spies on a monitor screen but decides to have a little fun rather than alerting his leader. He goes to the armoury and picks up a kind of fly swatter then surprises the Insecticons.
They briefly fight back. Shrapnel unleashes electricity and Bombshell attempts to implant a cerebro-shell which would take over Starscream's mind. But he is not quick enough and gets swatted with the net, and quickly followed by his two comrades. Moments later they have reverted to robot mode and must live with the consequences of their being discovered. They know Megatron will be most displeased by their failure. So Starscream tells them they must work for him and pass on information about where to find Shockwave the following day. He scheming Decepticon hopes to set up a meeting with the two leaders which will hopefully result in them destroying each other, leaving the way clear for second-in-commands Soundwave and Starscream to take over.
It is another of the deadly boring issues that made 1990 infamous and is only bearable because of the letters page and Combat Colin. The ever fertile mind of Lew Stringer always manages to raise a laugh with his entertaining cartoons. The GI Joe crossover shuffles along like a tortoise limping towards the finish line (still five weeks of this dross to go) but the real disappointment is the UK strip, Bugged. The problem is that zilch happens; the Insecticons get into Shockwave's base and munch on a wall and Starscream hits them with a fly swatter and that's it. It is hardly the stuff of great comic books. Unfortunately Simon Furman is devoting all of his creative energies to the American storyline at the moment and his UK stories are suffering as a result. It is a shame as last week's instalment 'Secrets' was a little gem, but all too often the five page black and white strips are falling short of the mark. It will have been frustrating for long time readers, including myself, who had become accustomed to epics like Target 2006 and In the National Interest to now see the comic scraping the proverbial barrel. At least we have Megatron versus Shockwave to look forward to next issue.
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